Happy Birthday, Emma! My baby turns 19 today, and in Ontario, that makes her legal on every front: she’s been legally able to vote, go to war, get married, drive a car for varying amounts of time. Now she’s nineteen, she can drink, too. (Mind you, we live less than 5 km from Quebec, where the drinking age is 18, so it’s not like she hasn’t gone across the river now and then.) Still! Legal everywhere! She’s happy about that!
Another milestone has also been reached. After many much-appreciated years of helping out in the daycare, Emma has given her notice. I booked her months ago to take over, pretty much completely, for the last two weeks of August (thus extending my holiday for a further two weeks!) but after that, she’s done. No more Emma as my regular backup.
I sort of panicked when she told me. I like my outings! I need my time out!
I can hardly blame her. She’s grown up in a daycare. When I started, she was a toddler herself. She’s had toddlers in her life, at her table, sleeping in her room, her entire life. The toddlers who allowed mum to stay home and homeschool her were also the toddlers who prevented mum from attending any school functions when she did finally arrive there. I don’t have an office job I can slip away from for a few hours.
She’s always been great about them. She’s done crafts, accompanied us on outings, read stories, given hugs, dished out discipline, mentored manners… all voluntarily, just because she likes them and is in the same space with them. She has done the occasional babysitting evening for many of them in their homes.
But now? After a lifetime of toddler-wrangling? She’s done. You can understand that. You can also understand my tiny sigh (did trees bend down your way just now?) at the thought of losing the very best, long-term, perfectly-trained, absolutely reliable assistant I have ever had.
So I panicked at first. And then I started networking. She’s not the only sensible, reliable, cheerful, flexible, experienced, warm, personable, loving, quick-thinking nineteen-year-old out there … well. Okay. They’re probably thin on the ground. But she can’t be the only one!!
My brainwave? We have a college in town. A college with an ECE program. A little exploration, and I discover that the college has a blackboard for posting job opportunities for college students. HA!
Three weeks, several applicants, a couple of interviews later, I have a wonderful young woman lined up. She’s worked a bit before starting college, so she’s in her early 20s. She’s starting the ECE program in the fall. Whee!
I am so relieved.
I’m also excited. An ECE student will be brimming with enthusiasm for the job, and will also be getting fed a steady diet of ideas, approaches, games, activities. I’m really looking forward to that influx of new ideas. It will be an invigorating breath of fresh, new air. And for her part? She’s going to get exposed to someone with years of experience, and a lot of accumulated wisdom on the principles of childcare, the long-term goals, and the minute-by-minute challenges. Discipline, management, emotional development, crowd control. I have Civilization 101 pretty much nailed. (Before you roll your eyes at the hubris, remember I’ve been doing this for 16 years. If I didn’t have those skills by now, I’m in the wrong profession.) Yup, I see this as a clear win-win.
She’s spent a couple of mornings with us so far. She has a lovely, warm, quiet way with the kids. They respond really well to her. Next week when she comes, I’m going to go off for an hour or two, and leave her with the children. By the fall, I’m hoping for a day a week.
She doesn’t have her schedule yet, but thinks that will be do-able. A day a week! Oh, I’m dizzy with the wonder of it. Keep your fingers crossed for us!!